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Fleet Automation for Windows, Linux and Mac Systems with Chef

Modern applications are continuously expanding in storage and functionalities to accommodate, manage and process massive amounts of data generated by users and devices. To keep the applications running smoothly, organisations must constantly provision new deployment environments or reconfigure existing ones. This introduces the need for deployment and configuration automation since manual processes are:

  • Excruciatingly slow
  • Inefficient
  • Error-prone

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital revolution as business complexities and user expectations have changed. It has caused organisations to rethink their initiatives and plans to address the challenges of business service delivery and seamless customer experiences in rapid and more advanced ways, making fleet automation even more important.

What is Fleet Automation?

By enabling IT teams to perform various management tasks with minimal human intervention, fleet automation aims to simplify IT operations while increasing speed and agility. Fleet automation frees time for teams to focus on strategic processes that add business value, instead of working long hours on manual provisioning and workload management tasks.

Why Fleet Automation?

A typical IT ecosystem contains many devices running various operating systems. To manage, maintain and update this fleet of devices, numerous repetitive manual processes are required.

To address this, organisations automate processes to increase the overall speed and agility of the fleet without increasing the cost and complexity of management. This includes configuration automation and automatic drift remediation. Standardization of compliance policies that enforce mandatory regulations and reduce security attack surfaces is also a major part of fleet automation strategies.

Fleet automation is a primary component of any comprehensive digital transformation endeavour—without it, you risk losing your competitive advantage.

The difficulties of managing large IT resource fleets:

How can fleet automation help?

The complexity of configuration management processes as the fleet scales is a never-ending challenge that most IT organisations face. IT teams frequently struggle to keep up with this growth due to limited time and resources, resulting in delayed updates, patches, and resource delivery. Automation of common management tasks such as provisioning, configuring, deploying, and decommissioning simplifies operations at scale, allowing you to regain control and visibility over your fleet of devices, regardless of their operating systems.

Chef & Fleet Automation

Knowing how end-user device fleets grow as organisations scale with geographically distributed teams, more remote employees, and BYOD, Chef enables IT teams to constantly monitor the fleet and remediate non-compliant devices to ensure the fleet remains secure while setting up multiple configurations for multiple devices. Organizations must use automation to standardise processes, increase employee productivity, and avoid losses caused by human errors. Chef empowers IT teams by automating detection and rapid remediation of configuration drifts to always keep devices in the desired state.


IT admins use MDMs to perform core tasks like wipe/lock, device enrolments, zero-touch provisioning, etc. These MDMs can also be used to deploy the Chef client on end points. IT admins then upload configuration details along with compliance profiles and remediation content in the form of code to Chef Desktop. The Chef Clients running on the endpoints then pull these configurations from Chef Desktop and bring themselves to the desired state securely.

All compliance profiles are monitored based on current CIS standards ensuring continuous compliance is always maintained on all endpoints.

Benefits

  1. Reduced complexity: One significant advantage of fleet automation is that it reduces the complexity of provisioning (and managing) large fleets of devices. Unlike traditional approaches that require significant investment from teams both financially and in terms of effort—to plan for, customise, implement, and maintain devices, fleet automation is a cost-effective solution to manage this complexity through automation. It not only reduces administrative burden but also enables IT teams to provide immediate value.
  2. Efficient workflows: Fleet automation lays the groundwork for more efficient workflows by accurately automating a variety of IT provisioning tasks. Teams can specify the conditions for provisioning devices and ensure that they are only executed when the specified conditions are met.
  3. Faster delivery: Because IT provisioning is now automated, the time (and effort) required to set up underlying infrastructure within IT ecosystems is drastically reduced.
  4. Error reduction: It helps to minimise the error rate associated with manual provisioning of devices that run different operating systems. Because all necessary access is provisioned automatically and without human intervention, automating the fleet, reduces the likelihood (and impact) of error while allowing IT teams to focus on mission-critical tasks.
  5. Cost savings: Automating fleet management helps eliminate the need for large teams to perform repeatable manual steps to provision systems and deploy applications at scale. This helps reduce staffing costs since Chef can enable automation at scale with minimum human intervention. Savings and quality improvement could be significant for organisations with large teams and complex heterogeneous infrastructures.

Learn How to Take Control

Chef enables laptop/desktop configuration by defining infrastructure as code, automating and testing the process of managing configurations and system state. System configuration and application change testing can be performed concurrently, making it possible to easily enforce and monitor system states across all infrastructure and teams. Users define configurations once and then apply them to mixed fleets of Linux, Mac, and Windows systems, regardless of the operating system, version, or architecture.

If any part of this blog has piqued your interest, please scroll down and register for our upcoming webinar right away. We will investigate everything mentioned above and more using real-world processes and scenarios. See how you can take control of your heterogeneous endpoint configurations through Chef Desktop at our webinar on December 15, 8.30 AM PT where Netflix, Facebook, and industry experts discuss how they use Chef to remotely manage their fleet of laptops and desktops.

This webinar will:

  • Issues that necessitated remote desktop and laptop management and compliance
  • Why Chef's fleet automation solutions are a good fit
  • Use cases and patterns that can be replicated
  • Trends in the industry and their implications for the future
  • Key takeaways and advantages

Register today

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Sudeep Charles

Sudeep Charles is a Senior Manager, Product Marketing at Progress. Over a career spanning close to two decades, Sudeep has held various roles in product development, product marketing, and business development for Cybersecurity, Fintech, and Telecom enterprises. Sudeep holds a Bachelors degree in Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration.

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